A Stella Review: How Not to Break (Lovestrong #3) by Susan Hawke

RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Take one former SEAL with a healthy dose of regret… Nick St. Cloud is living with shame from the one time he let his lust override his sense of honor. He’s haunted by the memory of when he made love to his best friend’s eighteen-year-old son. The tragic accident that happened that same night has only compounded his guilt. A decade later, he’s doing his best to be there for Charlie’s son, but anything more than that just wouldn’t be right… would it? Plus the younger guy who he’s tried to forget… It’s been ten years. Ten long years. Does Shaw Michaelson feel bad about having seduced his dad’s best friend? Umm, maybe? Although he could’ve done things differently, Shaw can’t find it within himself to be sorry for the hottest night of his life with the one man he’s never been able to forget. The man he’s patterned every subsequent relationship after… yeah, Shaw totally has a type. Equals a pair of men who deserve a second chance at a first time. The two men are living in an uneasy peace within the same small town and circle of friends, being careful not to let the other get close enough to open old wounds. All their walls fall when a stalker begins terrorizing Shaw, sending him running to the one man he knows will keep him safe. This is the fourth book in the LOVESTRONG series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Intended only for 18+ readers, this is an mm romance full of all the fun, fluff, and feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book. Note: Possible trigger warning for the mention of an animal being harmed off-page and the psychological trauma of being stalked.

I was waiting for Nick’s book since I met him in the first title in the Lovestrong series. Although I have to say I was enthusiastic about this new release just because it’s about Seth and Nick, otherwise I would have stopped with the series, the second title was really not for me. I tried to give the series another chance and I’m glad I did.

How Not To Break was very well written, easy and quick to read, so much better than the previous one. I am a huge fan of stories where the MCs have a wide age difference and here I found the relationship between Nick and Seth finally deserved. I could understand how Nick felt uncomfortable with his feelings for his best friends’ son. But the time has at the end come for them to be real and true to their hearts. Sure, Nick took his time to be open with the young man, but then when they were together, it was for the real thing. I liked both of them dearly.

I also liked the plot, well created to give the MCs an excuse to be in the same house and start to create a future. Maybe at the end the resolve of the mystery was too easy but that way the story didn’t become too heavy to take. I appreciated it. Being not so keen on mysteries, it was ok, but I can see how it couldn’t be perfect for a more demanding reader.

One more thing I liked were their friends, all the faces I already met in the previous books and fell in love with. It was a pleasure too see them after they got their HEAs.

I don’t know if there will be more installment in the Lovestrong series by Susan Hawke, I’m curious for more.

The cover art by Ana J Phoenix is cute but I don’t like the blue so dark in the background.



Kindle Edition, 239 pages

Published March 9th 2019


Language English

Lovestrong Series:

How Not To Wait (0.5)

How Not to Blend

How Not to Tuck

How Not to Sin

How Not to Break

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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